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and so, i went on -- >> montana. >> and so i went searching for replacement coverage for the employees that had been laid off, only to find out that cobra doesn't apply to me because i have less than 20 employees. and that conservatively affects 80% of all workers in montana. so, they were pretty much out on their own. and i was wondering if what we can do to eliminate discrimination against small employers, as an example, we're a lumberyard, we're out there lifting boards and packing stuff all day long. every one of my remaining seven employees are fit. so, why are we and i as an employer able to provide a lesser level of benefits to my employees and yet an employer with 30 employees who sit in cubicles on their butts instead of working them off gets a better rate? >> that was a pretty good
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question. so, for all of you who are all sitting on your -- what did you call them? no. as i said, small businesses is probably as vulnerable as anybody. and one of the things that max has been working very hard on -- and this just doesn't get advertised, but i want to make sure everybody's paying attention here -- one of the things we're trying to do is gave substantial subsidy to help small businesses allow their employees to get health insurance, because there are a lot of employers just like you who want to do the right thing but they're a small shop, they're operating to on small margin, they've got no leverage with the insurance companies. there are two ways we want to help. number one, we want the small business to be able to buy into the exchange. that allows you then to use the purchasing power of everybody
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who's in the exchange to get the best rates from the insurance companies. that right away would drive down the premiums that you'd have to pay. and the second thing we want to do is for employers who are doing the right thing and providing health insurance that is real, then we want to give you a tax break so that it's easier for you to make your bottom line. now, this is something that a lot of small businesses will benefit from. nobody's talking about it. and small businesses are the place where you're seeing the fastest job growth. it makes sense for us to provide this kind of protection. this i guarantee you will end up being an important component of whatever we pass out of washington. all right? i've only got time for one more question. it's a guy's turn, and i want
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somebody who's got a concern or is skeptical about health care reform. here we go. there we go. i knew we could find a couple here. so, i'll call on this gentleman right here in the pale blue shirt and hopefully that list is not too long. all right. go ahead. introduce yourself, though. >> my name is mark montgomery. >> hi, mark. >> appreciate you coming here. it's great to be able to do this. >> thank you. >> mr. president, i make a living selling individual health insurance. obviously, i pay very close attention to this insurance debate. >> right. >> as you know, the health insurance companies are in favor of health care reform and have a number of very good proposals before congress to work with government to provide insurance for the uninsured and cover individuals with pre-existing
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conditions. why is it that you've changed your strategy from talking about health care reform to health insurance reform and decided to vilify the insurance companies? >> okay. that's a fair question. that's fair question. first of all, you are absolutely right that the insurance companies in some cases have been constructed. so, i'll give you a particular example. aetna has been trying to work with us dealing with some of this pre-existing stuff, and that's absolutely true. and there are other companies who have done the same. now, i want to just be honest with you, and i think max will testify, that in some cases what we've seen is also funding in opposition by some other insurance companies to any kind of reform proposals. so, my intent is not to vilify insurance companies. if i was vilifying them, what we would be doing would be to say that private insurance has no
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place in the health care market, and some people believe that. i don't believe that. all right? what i've said is let's work with the existing system, we've got private insurers out there, but what we do have to make sure of is that certain practices that are very tough on people, those practices change. now, one point i want to make about insurance, some of the reforms that we want for the insurance market are very hard to achieve unless we've got everybody covered. this is the reason the insurance companies are willing to support reform, because their attitude is if we can't exclude people for pre-existing conditions, for example, if we can't cherry-pick the healthy folks from the not so healthy folks, well, that means that we're taking on more people with more expensive care, what's in it for us? the answer is that they got more
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customers than they're willing to make sure that they are eliminating some of these practices. if they've got fewer customer, they're less willing to do it. so, it's important for people -- when people ask me sometimes why don't you just do the insurance reform stuff and not expand coverage for more people, my answer is i can't do the insurance reform stuff by itself. the only way that we can change some of the insurance practices that are hurting people now is to make sure that everybody's covered and everybody's got a stake in it and then the insurance companies are able and willing to make some of these changes that will help people who have their insurance right now. but thank you for the question. i appreciate it. all right. you know, i'm going to -- even though i shouldn't do this, i'm going to take one more question. and i'm going to call on this
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person right here to get the last word. right here. >> thank you. >> go ahead. >> thank you, mr. president, and thank you for coming here and bringing your beautiful family to the last best place in the world. [ cheers ] because you're a constitutional scholar, i think it would be terrible to let you escape from montana without sharing with you the most perfect preamble to a constitution of any state constitution. >> oh, okay. well, i want to hear this. this is a good way to end in our town hall. >> it is. it is. we, the people of montana, grateful to god for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, the quality of opportunity, and to secure the blessings of liberties for this and future generations, do
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ordain and establish this constitution. i hope you take a look at the whole constitution. you'll like it. >> well, that's very nice. well, thank you. listen, montana, you've been terrific. i hope this has been informative. thank you for the questions. let's get to work. thank you. ♪ president of the united states shaking hands. we're going to keep this picture up for our viewers as he stays inside that hangar in belgrade, montana, where he just wrapped up about a one-hour q&a session. he had an opening statement on
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health care reform, then took a couple questions that he answered directly. we'll continue to watch the president here in "the situation room." we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. our senior white house correspondent, ed henry, is in montana, watching closely, as well. brianna keilar, our congressional correspondent, is in arkadelphia, arkansas, where another democratic congressman, a so-called blue-dog moderate or conservative democrat is holding his own town hall meeting. we're going to get to brianna in a moment. the president answered those questions, including the tough questions, head on, including a promise that he reiterated that he made during the campaign, there will be no tax increases for people earning less than $250,000 a year to pay for health care or, for that matter, anything else. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. there have be there had been a lot of talk before this event that maybe the president would experience some of the tough question, some of the anger at town hall meetings
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across the country. instead, this was pretty civil, pretty straightforward, maybe only a couple tough questions, one as you mentioned on taxes. very important to highlight. there was a man who identified himself as a member of the national rifle association and it was pretty tough, the president saying, look, you're not going to be able to pay for this. he was very direct, very blunt, saying you're not going to be able to pay for all this change without raising our taxes. the president did push back in one respect by saying, look, you're not going to get something for nothing. there are probably going to be some taxes raised, but as you point out, wolf, which is very important, that he's talking about raising taxes on people making over $250,000 a year. the president reiterating that his campaign promise that he won't raise taxes on people making under $250,000. i think if you take a step back from this, i've been talking to a lot of people here in montana who expressed some of this concern that that gentleman from the nra expressed, and these were people who identified themselves to me as obama voters, but they say they agree with the president, there's a crisis, they want to see him get
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something done, but they're very worried about government control, about too much reform, too big of an effort, and they're saying that there's a lot of fatigue here after, you know, the t.a.r.p. bailout of $700 billion, the stimulus cost of $787 billion, and that's clearly the president is trying to push back on head on, because when you talk to top white house advisers in private, top white house aides acknowledge that the opposition has been very good in highlighting this government anger out there. we've seen that reflected in other town hall meetings and they need to step up their pushback on that, wolf. >> i want to play a little clip, ed, of what the president said. one of the specifics lines of attack in defending his health insurance reform package. listen to this. unfortunately, we don't have that clip right there, but we're going to kwoqueue it up and get ready. the president was also clear
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about the health insurance companies out there, it's a personal matter going back to the illness and subsequent death of his own mom. >> reporter: he talked very personally. he's done this before, but again, he talked about it in saying when his own mom was dying of cancer she was nervous that she was going to be dropped by an insurance company, and he's trying to highlight that that is a fear that a lot of americans have and that they should not rest comfortably, that just because they're not among the 46 million of the uninsured it doesn't mean they're safe and secure. so, that is why the president is really trying to highlight that, wolf. >> ed, stand by. we're going to be getting back to you from big sky country to the deep south, the relative calm also happening in a forum with a blue-dog democrat, a moderate or conservative congressman named mike ross of arkansas. the congressman himself did have some harsh things to say about his own party leaders. >> i led an effort and stood up to president obama and to speaker pelosi, and we won,
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delaying any floor vote on health care reform to september at the earliest. >> go to brianna keilar out in arkadelphia, arkansas weather more on this part of the story. what else happened, brianna? >> reporter: wolf, compared to some of the other town hall meetings that we've seen, some very contentious town hall meetings, this one was almost a love fest. it started with a standing ovation as soon as congressman mike ross was introduced. he, of course, is a prominent blue-dog democrat, a fiscally conservative democrat. he and other blue dogs forced house democratic leaders to postpone a vote on the health care reform proposal until after congress comes back in september. that said, he also support miss of the things in this health care reform push. but talking with some of the constituents, those who are for this health care reform push, those who are against it, they say that they think congressman mike ross is really doing right by them. there's about 700 people at this event.
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we were able to speak with about a dozen of them going into the meeting. some of them are concerned that this is tantamount to a government takeover. some say health care reform can't come soon enough and they support the democrats' push. all of them, wolf, we spoke with said that the health care system is not well and they stand behind mike ross. they're very supportive of what he's done so far. >> and i think we have a little clip of another excerpt of what he had to say. let's play that. >> i led an effort and stood up to president obama and to speaker pelosi, and we won, delaying any floor vote on health care reform to september at the earliest. and by the way, the president has said the changes that we have made have made the bill better. >> we'll see if he stays firm on
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that. i'm going to have you stand by, brianna, in arkadelphia, arkansas, watching what's going on. here's a question. how can you find out if your represent stif holding a town hall in your area? go to you'll find ongoing coverage of all the town halls, simple answers to some of the complex issues that are out there. let's check in with jack cafferty for "the cafferty file." jack? wolf, the united states will soon be entering its ninth year since the invasion of afghanistan, and the war could be far from over. defense secretary robert gates said it will take, quote, a few years to defeat the taliban and al qaeda and larger-scale success there will take even longer. gates describes how long u.s. troops will be in the country as a mystery, saying there are too many variables to be able to predict, variables like the taliban, who are in control of more and more of the country. this means insurgent attacks are up, last month 49 coalition
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troops killed in bomb attacks. that compares to eight during the same time last year. some think more troops are the answer. there are now 62,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan, another 6,000 on the way. the secretary gates says the top commander there won't be asking for more troops right now. some expect him to eventually ask for another 10,000 troops. meanwhile, the u.s. has spent more than $220 billion in afghanistan since 2001 and is now spending about $4 billion a month. but that still may not be enough. a new senate report paints a grim picture of the security situation in afghanistan and makes clear the u.s. needs to send more troops and civilians. officials tell senate investigators progress in afghanistan, if it comes, would be incremental, talking about anywhere from two to ten years. so, here's the question.
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go to and post a comment on my blog. wolf? jack, thank you. an 11-year-old reporter gets the interview of a lifetime. >> how excited were you? >> i was very -- i was very excited. and it was very unexpected. >> excited because he got a chance to do what some reporters never do. that would be interview the president of the united states. wait until you hear what damon weaver tells us he spoke about with the president. and california is burning, at least parts of it are being swallowed by fast-moving fires. how much damage and how many more evacuations before they're contained? tom. now, i know the catering business but when i walked in here i wasn't sure what i needed. i'm not sure what i need. tom showed me how to use mifi to get my whole team working online, on location. i was like, "woah". woah ! only verizon wireless has small business specialists in every store to help you do business better.
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president obama wrapped a one-hour town hall in montana. we'll be speaking, by the way, with the governor of montana. he'll be here in "the situation room." that's coming up. we're also trying to speak with some of those who asked the president some of those tough questions at that town hall and get their sense if the president really answered their questions. all that coming up. we'll go back to montana in a few moments. but right now there's another story we're watching, and it involves an 11-year-old. most 11-year-olds are simply enjoying the last days of summer before school starts, but one of them is hard at work. he was over at the white house earlier in the day. damon weaver.
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he's 11 years old. he's from florida in palm beach county. he's going into sixth grade. damon, you're in "the situation room." thanks very much for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> you interviewed the president of the united states yesterday in the white house. and i have a little clip. i'm going to play this clip, and then i want to talk about it with you. all right. listen to this. >> mom always makes sure you're doing well in school. what should parents do to make sure their child's education is better? >> well, i think parents are the most important thing to any child's ability to do well in school. so, making sure that you're reading to your child, especially when they're young, even before they get to school so that they start being used to reading and they know their alphabet, they know their -- the basics so that even when they get to kindergarten they're already a leg up. i think it's important to make sure that kids are doing their
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homework and that they're not just turning on the tv all day or playing video games. i think talking to teachers and finding out from teachers directly what can be done to improve their child's performance. that's very, very important. and, you know, setting a really high standard to kids. saying if you get a b, you can do better. you can get an a. making sure we have high expectations for all children because i think all children can do well as long as they have the support that they need. [ inaudible ]. >> i remember when i got school lunches sometimes they didn't taste so good, i have to admit. we are at least seeing if we can work to make school lunches healthier because a lot of school lunches, you know, there's a lot of french fries and pizza and tater tots and all kinds of stuff that, you know, isn't a well-balanced meal.
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and so, what we want to do is make sure that there are more fruits and more vegetables in the schools now. kids may not end up liking that, but it's actually better for them. it will be healthier for them, and those are some of the changes that we're trying to make. >> i suggest that we have french fries and mangos every day for lunch. >> see, and if you were planning the lunch program, it would probably taste good to you, but it might not make you big and strong like you need to be. and so, we want to make sure that food tastes good in school lunches but that they're also healthy for you, too. >> i love mangos. >> you love mangos? i love mangos, too, but i'm not sure we can get mangos in every school because they only grow in hot temperatures and, you know, there are a lot of schools up north where they don't have mango trees. >> i notice as president you get booed a lot. how do you handle it? >> as president, i get what?
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>> bullied a lot. >> you mean people say mean things about me? well, you know, i think that, you know, when you're president you're responsible for a lot of things and a lot of people are having a tough time and they're hurting out there and, you know, the main thing i just try to do is stay focused on trying to do a good job and try to be understanding, but sometimes people are going to be mad about things. but if i'm doing a good job, i'm doing my best and i'm trying to always help people. that keeps me going. >> were you ever bullied in school? >> you know, i wasn't bullied too much in school. i was pretty big for my age. but obviously, you know, it's a terrible thing, bullying. and i hope all young people out there understand that they should treat each other with respect. >> wow. damon, very, very cool interviewing the president of the united states. how did you get that interview? >> well, i know some of his
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people and one of his people i hung with today, i had gave him a letter, and the letter was asking for an interview. >> this was during campaign when you asked him for an interview? is that right? >> po. it was, like, in june, you know, maybe april. april. >> and all of a sudden they called you up and said, damon, come on over to the white house? is that what happened? >> yep. >> they did? >> mm-hmm. >> how excited were you? >> i was very -- i was very excited. and it was very unexpected to me because i was -- the night before i was playing with my brother talking about i'm getting an interview with obama, he's saying stop playing. >> nobody believed you. >> nobody believed me. but i didn't even know that i would get an interview. so, that morning i woke up with my mom, and she said, put on some clothes. i said for what, mom, for what? she said we're getting a suit for your interview. i said interview who? she said obama. >> is this a new suit you got
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for the interview? >> it was at the hotel. >> this was a suit that you had before? >> mm-hmm. >> because you look very handsome. so, what was it -- what did you think about the president of the united states? >> well, the president of the united states is very funny. he's -- he gives great details, and he's a very good, good guy. >> and did he give you a tour of the white house, too, a little bit? >> yep. no, no, no. >> he didn't. >> but i also got to see his dog bo. >> did you see his two little girls? >> no. >> but you saw bo in the back yard on the south lawn? >> no. i took a picture with him and i had petted him. >> you did pet him. did you like bo? >> yeah. >> what do you do after you interview the president of the united states? i mean, how do you follow up with that? you're only 11 years old. >> after the interview with the united states, when i got to the hotel, i went swimming. >> you went swimming at your hotel. >> yeah.
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>> that was cool. more of this interview i had with damon weaver and more of his interview with the president of the united states. he wants to be a journalist so i let him ask me some questions, as well. i think you'll be interested in what he wanted to ask me. that's coming up in our next hour. when we come back, we're going back to montana. we're going to speak with that gentleman from the nra, a supporter of the national rifle association who asked that question of president obama on whether or not he was going to go forward and raise taxes in order to pay for health care reform. ( siren blaring )
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special interest groups are trying to block progress on health care reform, derailing the debate with myths and scare tactics. desperately trying to stop you from discovering that reform won't force you to give up your current coverage. you'll still be able to choose your doctor and insurance plan. tell congress not to let myths get in the way of fixing what's broken with health care. learn the facts at wellbeing. we're all striving for it. purina cat chow helps you nuture it in your cat... with a full family of excellent nutrition... and helpful resources. ♪ purina cat chow. share a better life.
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john lemon is monitoring other stories important incoming to "the situation room." what's going on? the man convicted of bombing pan am flight 103 over lockerbie, scotland, more than 20 years ago is dropping his appeal. megrahi is gravely ill with prostate cancer and is seeking compassionate release to return to his native libya. the bombing in december of 1988 killed all 259 people on the plane and 11 people on the ground. another bank appears to be on the brink of failure. a federal judge has frozen the assets of colonial bank, which
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has 355 branchs in five states. there are reports that rival bb&t bank will buy colonial's branches and deposits but not loans and other assets. shares in colonial have plunged 88% this year and this morning trading was halted. a funeral today for eunice kennedy shriver, the founder of the special olympics, who died tuesday at the age of 88. the special olympics torch led the procession to the cape cod church are where the mass was held and a number of special olympians attending the private service along with vice president joe biden, oprah winfrey, and stevie wonder. her daughter, maria shriver, and her husband, governor arnold suarez neg, helped carry the casket into the church. maria shriver delivered a eulogy that included a poem. >> thank you, mommy, for giving me the breath of life. thank you for giving me a push over and over again. thank you for doing your best. here we are, you and me. now it's you needing the breath
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of life. now it's you needing the push. you did it for me. let me do it for you. your love has brought me to my knees. i cannot breathe without you. i can not think without you. i am lost without you. here we are, you and me. the clouds are gone. the sky is clear. you are the star in my sky. you are the music in my heart. do you hear it? listen. listen. mummy, you are the trumpet of my life. amen. >> at the grave site service, mourners lit candles from the special olympic torch and shriver's son tim, now chairman of the organization, asked the
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athletes there to come forward to be near the casket. quite a woman. quite a woman, wolf. >> our deepest condolences to the family. thanks, don. to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, michael vick is back in the nfl after serving two years in prison after running a dogfighting ring. who signed him and what kind of welcome will he get? president obama striking back at his critics. he's just wrapped up a health care town hall meeting in montana. how did it go? i'll speak with the state's governor, brian schweitzer, standing by live. a deadly collision puts the spotlight on air-traffic controllers who apparently weren't following the rules. one was on the the other wasn't even in the building. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." lots of america's families are visiting the country's national parks this summer but the first family will see two of them in the next two days.
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tomorrow, the president, the first lady and the two daughters visit yellowstone national park and on sunday the grand canyon. those parks and otherins are getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the stimulus package. kate bolduan is watching it unfold. what are you finding out about the actual money? >> wolf, this weekend the spotlight is definitely on the country's national parks, and we're taking a look at the $750 million in stimulus money heading their way. we visited one park just outside washington that's getting about $5.5 million for things like road repair and rehab on some historic cabins. other projects include millions for repairs like the lincoln memorial reflecting pool and millions more for solar power installation and trail improvements. 800 projects in all nationwide. we also had the chance today to talk to the acting director of the national park service.
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how is money for the national parks helping? >> it's stimulus because we're putting people to work. we're putting people to work for the next two years. it's also stimulus because we are creating a better place, increasing the visitor experience, we're bringing tourism back to these places because we are improving our visitor facilities, our campgrounds. >> how much of the stimulus money is actually out there? >> well, right now the national park service says that of the $750 million total, about 10% is in the pipeline, but they also say they're facing a $ 9 billion backlog of work right so a tough road ahead. on the stimulus question, some republican lawmakers are not buying it. among their concerns, jobs. the fact that many of the jobs that will be created will only be short-term jobs. more of all of that coming up this weekend. all part of our effort of tracking the stimulus. >> people love those parks. let's hope they get better in the process and create some
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jobs. >> that's right. >> thanks, kate. a wildfire burning out of control. thousands of acres burned, thousands of people evacuated. we'll get the latest on the desperate effort under way by fire crews to get the upper hand. plus, a killer typhoon. the death toll could quadruple. reading about washington these days... i gotta ask, what's in it for me? i'm not looking for a bailout, just a good paying job. that's why i like this clean energy idea. now that works for our whole family.
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for the kids, a better environment. for my wife, who commutes, no more gettin' jerked around on gas prices... and for me, well, it wouldn't be so bad if this breadwinner brought home a little more bread. repower america. i hope our senators are listening. heard you're getting free nights from how? well, funny you should ask. you see, after i book 10 nights, i get a free one. say i spend 2 nights at a big name hotel, 3 at a boutique, and 5 at a beach resort... and boom! free night. ( dings, monkey chatters ) ( in a baby voice ) aren't you a smart one? ( monkey laughs ) accumulate 10 nights and get a night free. welcomerewards from smart. so smart.
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the death toll in taiwan stands at 101, but that number could more than quadruple. >> reporter: i'm standing on what used to be a village. there were two mudslides that came down, formed a lake. that lake overflowed and washed away the entire village. authorities believe there were at least 600 residents here when the typhoon hit. there's virtually no sign of life. just debris here. and tons of mud. a rescue crew brought us through
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the village today but they know there are no survivor here so they kept going through that valley. they're headed through another town inside the mountains. they know that survivors are there. it's just that no ground crew has been able to reach that town all week. now that the road to shiao lin village is at least passable, a trickle of local residents are coming by to see the damage. we met one woman here sitting on a log. she was crying and praying. she lost seven family members in the mudslide here. you have to remember that there are hundreds of bodies buried underneath this mud. >> i want to go back to montana where the president of the united states just in the past few moments wrapped up a one-hour town hall, got some pretty good questions, including this question and answer with one person from montana.
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listen to this. >> max baucus, our senator, has been locked up in a dark room there for months now trying to come up with some money to pay for these programs. and we keep getting the bull. that's all we get is bull. you can't tell us how you're going to pay for this. you're saving here. you're saving over there. you're going to take a little money here, a little money there, but you have no money. the only way you're going to get that money is to raise our taxes. you said you wouldn't. max baucus says he doesn't want to put a bill out that will, but that's the only way you can do that. >> the president, randy, says he'll live by his commitment made during the campaign, he won't raise taxes for anyone making under $250,000, would raise taxes for those making more. did his answer today satisfy you? >> somewhat. we're going to find out about the president because he's made
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some promises and now he has given me his word personally that he's not going to raise my tax, and i'm a big man on living up to your word, so i'm going to take him for that. >> do you have any doubts that he might back away from that commitment? >> i don't think he has any choice. if he's going to put health care in, either he's going to leave it unfunded or -- i don't know what he's going to do, but they don't have any money. >> you made the point if they lowered the deductions available to people making more than $250,000 a year, instead of being able to deduct for a charitable contribution, say 35% or 36%, bring it down to 28%, he says that'll pay for the health reform that he wants. >> i'm not sure i'm educated enough to make that call, but if me starts taking money from the wealthier people and giving it to people here, that's a distribution of wealth. >> you don't like that idea.
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i don't either. what do you think in general of the way the president handled himself in montana? >> oh, i was well impressed. i came here for that reason, you know, to have a little discourse. i was very fortunate to get asked. and the president handled himself very well and tried to the best of his ability to answer my question. >> i see you have your nra, your national rifle association jacket on. you made a point to him saying you support the second amendment to the constitution and he pointed out he does, as well. were you satisfied with that? >> i am. i extracted another promise from him, and it's very important to all of our constitutional rights, especially the ones that are in jeopardy that a lot of people want, which is the second amendment. >> i'm curious how you managed to get a question to the president. what was the process that you had to go through in order to get that microphone and ask the president of the united states a specific question? >> well, i drove several hundred miles, i slept on a sidewalk to get in line. i was number 215 in line.
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then i waited a day and then i come back over here and i've been here about 12 hours today standing in line in order to get in. and then as i got in, when he started asking, i started waving my hand, and i'm not so sure that my nra jacket didn't catch his eye. >> it hofbly must have. it was interesting he decided to call on you despite that jacket. but nobody questioned you in advance or asked you what your question was going to be? was there any screening, in other words? >> absolutely not. i'd be very upset if somebody tried. and also, just because i'm an nra member doesn't mean that i'm not a good american citizen. we are good people. we're concerned about our rights and only that. we're not -- we're not to be vilified and we're not bad people. >> one final question, randy. was it worth it, that huge effort you made, to get there to belgrade, montana, and get to ask the president a question? >> absolutely. way high on my list of chance of
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a lifetime opportunities. >> thanks, randy. thanks very much for coming in. thanks for coming to the town hall. you asked a good, serious, tough question, he gave a good answer. now we'll see if he lives up to it together. we appreciate it very much. >> thanks for having me. >> in our strategy session, was there a deal between the pharmaceutical industry and the white house? i asked the white house office on health reform communications director this question. soo, is part of the deal they would support this legislation, go forward with $150 million in advertising? >> you know, wolf, part of the agreement here is that we're all going to work together to bring comprehensive health reform. >> but is there more going on than she's letting on? we'll discus that. arianna huffington, tony blankley, are both standing by live. and michael vick, the convicted canine killer, now in the city of brotherly love. is it going to greet him with open arms? co
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back to our top story. the president trying to sell his health care reform package. let's talk about it with arianna huffington of "the huffington post" and republican strategist tony blankley, former spokesman for the house speaker, then house speaker newt gingrich. what did you think? how did it go today, arianna? >> well, you know, the president is really good at that. i thought it was very moving. you know, he connects with people and -- wherever they come from. the problem is not that. the problem is that he has not been absolutely clear in terms of what is going on in the health care reform bill that he will support.
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and i think until he draws a line in the sand and says some basic things, there will be a public option, there will be the ability to negotiate for lower costs, there will be prevention, then people are confused about what is going to be in this bill. this confusion you can get all these crazy rumors that have been circulating. >> i think he's trying to be deliberately ambiguous, get the best deal in these negotiations. that's why he doesn't do what you want him to do. tony, how do you think the president did during that hour q&a session? >> look, he is marvelous in these settings. transactionally it's a wonderful moment for him. the problem i think is strategically he is not solving the problem that he has, which is as the public is coming to think they understand what the issues are, they're breaking against the president. so, in one sense, it was a marvelous hour. the public saw him in his milieu with all of his charm and forthrightness. on the other hand, it was an hour lost when he could be
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moving a message. at some point he's got to move to convince the people who disagree with him to agree with him. so, it's tactically wonderful, strategically a lost moment. >> how worried are you, and i think you are, because i read "the huffington post," arianna, about this secret deal that was negotiated with pharma, the pharmaceutical lobby here in washington, the drug manufacturers? they got a commitment there would be x amount of cuts for them over the next ten years. in exchange, they're going to spend about $150 million in advertising to help president obama's deal. what do you think about this deal? >> well, you know, it is worrisome on two grounds. the first one is that the president himself made a promise during the campaign that there would be no ban in negotiations with pharma and that's potentially over $300 billion in savings. that was an exact promise. so, now we find out there was actually an agreement and that there would be a ceiling at $80 billion, that has two causes of
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concern. the first is it's not something good because costs are not going to come down as far as they should. and the other one, in a way, just as important, emblematic of the kind of business as usual that the president promised to come to washington to change. and the public goes away with the sense of a fix is in. if you're a powerful lobby, you can get away with this behind the door negotiations and that the public does not have the power to be there. that's why, remember, he had said these negotiations would be happen i happening out in the open, but there's back and forth and spin and denial and counterdenial. >> it was sort of a deal done with the senate finance committee and billy townsend, the former republican congressman, tony, a man you know quite well, now the head lobbyist for pharma, the pharmaceutical lobby here in washington. do you feel comfortable with this deal? >> i think he was a former
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democrat. >> he was also a former democrat and a former republican. >> yeah. look, by the way, tip my hat to arianna. she's got the actual memo on her website. it used to be i would check "the new york times" for these memos. now we go to "the huffington post." but this is business as usual in washington, there's nothing wrong with it. the lobbyists and the associations have every right to work with an administration and try to get a bill that works to their interests. and the president has every right to cut these deals. that's the way the sausage is made. i've been in this town for 30 years. this is what administrations do. you know, maybe the president's got a bit of a problem because he said it was going to be completely different, but i think most of us understood that there's only so many ways to get legislation passed, and this is inherently one of them. >> this is still going to cause a lot of heartburn out there. we'll continue this conversation in the coming days. unfortunately have to leave it there. >> thank you. >> thank you. charismatic and ready with a
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colorful comment. president obama visits the governor of montana's state. the governor won't mince words to describe where he agrees and possibly disagrees with the president. fuel efficient choice. well, this chevy cobalt xfe has better highway mileage than a comparable honda civic. this chevy traverse has better mileage than honda pilot. the all-new chevy equinox has better mileage than honda cr-v. and chevy malibu has better mileage than accord. however, honda does make something that we just can't compete with. it's self-propelled. there's never been more reasons to look at chevy.
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want to buy some property? how about homes owned by one of the most notoriously famous swizzlers in history, bernie madoff? the sales of money would help madoff victims. cnn's internet reporter abbi tatton is here. show us where these properties are. >> wolf, three luxury properties. this is what's going to be soon on the market. the first owned by bernard madoff, a co-op, a luxury penthouse on the upper east side of manhattan valued earlier this year about $7 million by the fbi. then we go to the holiday home out on long island, this one a waterfront property. $1.5 million. the second waterfront home, because you need two, right, this one in palm beach, florida, on the waterfront, again, five bedrooms for that one, neighboring properties go for about $9 million estimated value. the total of all three of these,
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the u.s. marshal service puts at about $20 million plus. but the goal here is to sell them for as much as they can get because the money would be going to bernard madsoff's victim, and that's why the u.s. marshal says it's putting out this appeal to real estate agents saying tell us why you're the best to do this. >> probably won't get that but they'll get something in this market. jack cafferty has got "the cafferty file." he's joining us now. interested in any of those property, jack? sni >> i was thinking, you should pick up one or two of those. >> that little villa in palm beach. >> then you could have "the situation room" staff come down. in this hour --
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is that in itself significant? did some public relations guy at the pentagon decide to keep it simple and mention only al qaeda? judy in texas writes -- perhaps worded differently, the same applied especially to vietnam and iraq. m.l. in el paso, texas -- more importantly, do the people of afghanistan want us there or do they want us out. john in california --
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there should be a point when the american people say enough is enough. as to when that point will come, who knows? a few years is a few too long if you ask me. the if you didn't see your e-mail here, go to my blog, jack cafferty >> you're in "the situation room." happening now -- he calls his prison term for dogfighting a turning point. now michael vick gets a second chance in the national football league. president obama holds a town hall in a small montana town. isle speak with the governor of montana who worries states may get stuck with the tab for
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health care reform. and newt gingrich has advice for sarah palin -- write a book, get a condo in new york or washington, and work really, really hard. could they run together in 2012? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." he spent nearly two years in federal prison convicted of bankrolling a gruesome dog fooiging operation. now former pro quarterback michael vick is back in the national football league. he signed with the philadelphia eagles, vowing to do all the right things. listen to this. >> you know, it's a surreal feeling right now. i couldn't envision it two years ago. i was optimistic that it would happen one day, but i knew it was going to be a long process. as a people, we fear the unknown, and i'm just happy that i have the opportunity now. i'm glad that coach reid and the rest of the organization stepped forward.
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donovan was very instrumental in that. and i'm glad that i got the opportunity to have a second chance. and, you know, i won't disappoint. >> let's turn to larry smith of cnn sports. larry, how is this playing out? >> reporter: well, you know, the man, wolf, really needed convincing was jeffrey lurie, the philadelphia eagles owner. he is a life-long dog lover and dog owner and didn't mince any words at all when talking about his disdain for vick's actions that got him in trouble. in fact, he said vick must continue his anti-dogfighting campaign outside his actions of the eagles for this partnership to work. >> his legend and whether we are giving him a second chance will be successful if he can diminish the level of animal cruelty. and that's it. and if he is not proactive, if he's not proactive, he won't be on the team because that's part
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of the agreement. >> reporter: now, lurie credited three men for really helping get him to the point where he can sit down face to face and talk with michael vick while he's making one of the toughest decisions he's ever had to make. nfl commissioner roger goodell, eagles head coach andy reid and former super bowl winning coach tony dungy, a mentor to vick the last couple months, he talked about his role in vick's life in getting him from prison to this point now, about to return to the nfl. >> well, i talked to andy reid a lot. i talked to the eagles organization. and i just talked about a lot of young men who make mistakes, who go down the wrong path. and what you've got to figure out is if they've changed, are they different, are they going to be a good teammate, a good person in the community, and i told the eagles i thought he would be, i thought he would be very positive and i hope that bears out. >> a couple things to keep in mind, wolf, first, the $1.6 million he'll earn in 2009, none
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of that money is guaranteed. on top of that, he may not play a regular-season game until week six. commissioner goodell has to sign off on when he'll return to play for the philadelphia eagles. >> he's got donovan mcnabb, the starting quarterback for the eagles, too, not too shabby a quarterback, either. we'll continue to watch the story, larry. thanks very much. the president picked a small town in montana for his latest town hall hearing. he said americans are being held hostage by health insurance companies that deny or withhold coverage when people get sick, but the president also said there's no clear model to follow when it comes to fixing the system. listen to this. >> without going into too much detail, can you tell us what you -- if you have kind of looked at canada, the england system and sort of can you pick and choose from those systems that work that we see there's some success rate and apply that to what you're trying to push through right now? >> well, let me tell you what
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happened in other industrialized countries. first of all, i think it's important for everybody to understand that americans spend $5,000 to $6,000 per person more than any other advance nation on earth. $5,000 or $6,000 than any other person -- any other country on earth. now, if you think that -- how can that be, well, you probably don't notice it because what's happening is if you've got health insurance through your job, more and more of what would be your salary and wages is going to health insurance. but you don't notice it. you just notice that you're not getting a raise. but a bigger and bigger portion of compensation is going to health care here in the united states. now, that's point number one. so, clearly, we've got a system that isn't as efficient as it should be because we're not healthier than these people in
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these other countries. having said that, most other countries have some form of single-payer system. there are differences. canada and england have more of what's called -- what people i guess would call a socialized system in the sense that government owns the hospitals, directly hires doctors. but there are a whole bunch of countries like the netherlands where what they do is it's a single-payer system only in the sense that the government pays the bill but it's all private folks out there, private doctors, private facilities. so, there are a bunch of different ways of doing it. now, what we need to do is come up with a uniquely american way of providing care. so, i'm not in favor of a canadian system. i'm not in favor of a british system. i'm not in favor of a french system. that's not what max is working on. every one of us, what we've said is let's find a uniquely
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american solution because historically here in the united states the majority of people get their health insurance on the job. so, let's build on that system that already exists, because for us to completely change that it would be too disruptive. that's where suddenly people would lose what they have and they'd have to adjust to an entirely new system. and max and i agree that's not the right way to go. >> reference to max being max baucus, democratic senator from montana, who's the chairman of the senate finance committee. he's working hard to try to find some sort of compromise. let's go to montana right now. senior white house correspondent, ed henry, is standing by. you've been there for a while. you're trying to get a sense of what the folks think about this president and his plan. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. you saw a lot of friendly questions at that town hall meeting, but go about 23 miles from that airport hangar to find even obama supporters raising some tough questions about health care.
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spend a day in the tiny town of livingston, montana, and you quickly see why the president's health care push is facing big problems in big sky country. even from those he's trying to help. >> we've got two kids and then my husband is the only one working. >> reporter: sandra mcdonald is uninsured so she gets discounted dental work at a local clinic. she voted for the president and agrees there needs to be reform but is worried about the details. >> i believe that there is a health care crisis. i really do. do i believe that the government needs to be more involved? no, because i think that they just -- whenever they get thirty fingers in the pot it kind of just turns black. >> reporter: a common sentiment here where a second obama voter told us government is too big. >> we've just spebt so much money on the stimulus and the t.a.r.p. then we're going to add another huge entitlement in the form of the public option. >> reporter: the movie "a river runs through it" was filmed
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here, so people love their fly-fishing, all a part of their rugged individualism. >> i think the west is all about independence and do it my way and i don't need anyone to tell me what and how to do. and i think when government gets too involved in our lives, there's some, sure, some discomfort. >> reporter: but they're comfortable with the government at the local clinic known as community health partners. taxpayers pick up 50% of the $4 million annual budget. >> we're able to provide health care to someone who walks through the door regardless of their ability to pay. >> reporter: which brings us back to sondra mcdonald, who wants more of these clinics around the country, even when we told her the feds pick up much of the tab. >> the government being involved is fine. it's just that when they try and overstep, when they try and say, no, this is what needs to be done -- >> reporter: and this is one of the many challenges for this president. a lot of people wasay they want
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government out of health care, unless, of course, they're picking up the tab. we'll go back to montana to keep track of the town halls and the debate. to learn what reform efforts might mean to you, go to our new health care website at a lot of good stuff at that website. let's check in with jack for "the cafferty file." jack. i saw a report from ed out in montana i think it was this morning. he was sporting a stylish white stetson. >> yes. >> looking very much like one of the local ranch hands out there. or not. president obama's been promising the american people transparency ever since he was on the campaign trail. when it comes to the $700 billion bank and auto bailouts known as t.a.r.p. and the $787 billion economic stimulus package, the president vowed an unprecedented level of openness. a lot of information has been made public through websites like and
5:11 pm the administration calls these sites pioneering, compared to how government worked in the past. but we're talking about almost $1.5 trillion here, and there is key information that the public still does not know about how and where this money is being spent. for example, the treasury department doesn't require banks that have gotten t.a.r.p. funds to show how they're using the money or who the bailed-out banks are lending to, if, in fact, they're lending at all. also, taxpayers won't have any idea if they've lost or made money on these government investments and companies like gm and aig, citigroup, and the bank of america, until such time as the government sells its stakes. as for the spending of stimulus dollars, the government accounting only goes as far as the first-tier recipients from the states, so it's not known which and how many companies down the line are getting work and how much. it's not enough. we deserve the transparency that was promised to us. otherwise it's just another example of government lying to
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us in order to get us to go along with something they want. does the iraq war ring a bell? here's the question. go to and post a comment on my blog. wolf. >> thanks. good question, jack. some governors are worried right now that their states will have to pick up at least some of the bill for health care reform. i'll ask the montana governor, brian schweitz what he recollects's behind those concerns. he was with the president at that town hall. and why two air-traffic controllers have been suspended following that collision between a small plane and a sightseeing helicopter from new york. plus, he scooped the rest of us by getting an interview with president obama.
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and we've got about 16% or 18% of the people who don't have health insurance. so, if we can squeeze some savings out of our health care system, there's easily enough money to pay for that last 16% to 20%. >> he says he wants what's called a public option, a government-run insurance agency, in effect, to compete with the private insurance companies. are you okay with that? >> well, i think you know that 47% of america gets their health care from a government-run system, medicare, medicaid, so 47% are already on some ind cough government plan. all he's suggesting is is that we ought to have the opportunity to choose. if you like one of those 400 or 500 insurance companies that are for profit out there, that's fine. if you'd like to buy into a public system like, i don't know, call it buying into medicare, you would have to pay the going rate, and if they
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could offer you that service for less money than one of those insurance companies, why the heck would we be against that? >> i guess you support the president on that point as well. the critics fear that the government will drive these private insurance companies out of business and claim you can't compete with the federal government. you disagree. >> well, i'm telling you what, when the world ends, the coyotes, the cockroaches and i'm sure the insurance companies will still be in business. don't cry for them, argentina. they know how to adapt. they've adapted when all these people joined medicare and veterans health. they said they'd go out of business then too. of course that's what they've got to say. they're in a business and would like to keep their monopoly. >> what about the president's proposal today at your town hall in montana that if you lower the deductible rate for the richest americans, those making more than $250,000 a year, how much they could deduct from their charitable contribution? for example, that would help pay for the health care reform. is that okay with you?
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>> look, there's a lot of ways of skinning this cat, and one of the ways would be to raise money from other sources, but the fastest way of getting there is through cost containment. we spend 30% to 50% more than all the other countries. if you squeeze out a little bit, we can get everybody covered. >> om other governors, and probably you, as well, are afraid some of the costs may be thrown to the states and that you may have to foot p bill for some of these new expenditures. are you worried about that? >> well, one of the proposals out there would extend the medicaid benefits to everybody in your state that is up to 133% of federal poverty. effectively in montana that would increase the number from about 90,000 that are covered in this federal and state partnership to almost 200,000. so, naturally, that would cost some more money, but the folks in washington, d.c., have recognized the states are pretty good penny pinchers. in montana, we'll pinch that penny until it's a copper wire a
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mile long. we negotiate, we use science-based medicine so we're getting the best results for dollars we spend, and we're sharing this with the federal government. so, if they're going to move more people into the medicaid program, i'm sure that they are going to have the dollars to go with those people that are coming into our system. >> and you guys know how to pinch pennies there. i know that for sure. one final question with a quick answer if you can. the end-of-life counseling that's becoming a quick debate, the former governor of alaska, sarah palin, calling these death panels and all of that, do you have a problem with the government paying doctors to give voluntary advice to people who are getting older about living wills or hospice care, this kind of information? >> it's happening all over america right now. it's just that these health care professionals are not being compensated. i think that that should be a part of our health care system. give people advice. give them the options about their health care system.
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let them know what's available to them. how could you be against that? >> all right. we're going to leave it right there, governor, but just remind me, the health insurance companies will be there, the coyotes, and what else? the cockroaches when all the world ends? >> when the world ends, the coyotes and the cockroaches and you can bet the insurance companies will still be in business. >> i just wanted to make sure i got that right. governor, as usual, thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> i love air force one behind you, as well. that's a nice scene. appreciate it. this was the scene at baltimore last night after an suv being driven by olympic gold medalist michael phelps was involved in a crash. we're going to update you on his condition, tell you what the police are now saying. also, the hunt for a cargo ship that vanished in the atlantic last month may be over, but what about the crew? and newt going risch with advice for sarah palin.
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don lemon is monitoring some other important stories incoming to "the situation room" right now. don, what's going on? wolf, baltimore police say a car crash last night involving olympic gold medalist michael phelps was not his fault.
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phelps and two passengers in his suv were unhurt, but the driver of the other vehicle was reportedly take on the hospital complaining of neck and arm pain. police say that driver ran a red light before colliding with phelps' vehicle. the hunt for russian crew cargo ship that vanished last month in the atlantic seems to be over. but the mystery surrounding the ship and the fate of its crew remains. russia's state news agency is reporting that the ship, which was earlier reported hijacked, is now being tracked off the coast of africa. but a top russian official in the region is refusing to confirm that report. in jacksonville, florida, thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to the first american casualty of the 1991 gulf war. navy pilot michael "scott" speicher was buried in a private cemetery after a funeral procession and memorial ceremony. speicher was shot down over iraq on the first night of the war but his remains were not located and identified until earlier this month. finally, a bit of closure for his family.
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still very sad but at least now they know. >> i was covering that first night of the gulf war back in 1991 january. i remember vividly when we got that report. it was heartbreaking at the time. if somebody had said it would take all these years to get to the bottom, i wouldn't have believed it at the time. caused a lot of heartburn and anguish for folks. thanks, don. write a book and work really, really hard. newt gingrich's advice to sarah palin. could they run together in 2012? and two senators battling it out on twitter over the so-called health care death panels. we're following the situation online. he got a big scoop interviewing president obama. mr. evans? this is janice from onstar. i have received an automatic signal you've been in a front-end crash. do you need help?
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) special interest groups are trying to block progress on health care reform, derailing the debate with myths and scare tactics. desperately trying to stop you from discovering that reform won't force you to give up your current coverage. you'll still be able to choose your doctor and insurance plan. tell congress not to let myths get in the way of fixing what's broken with health care. learn the facts at i had a great time. me too. you know, i just got out of a bad relatio... it's okay. thanks. goodnight. goodnight. (door crashes in, alarm sounds) get out! (phone rings) hello? this is rick with broadview security. is everything all right? no, my ex-boyfriend just kicked in the front door.
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i'm sending help right now. thank you. (announcer) brink's home security is now broadview security. call now to install the standard system for just $99. the proven technology of broadview security system delivers rapid response from highly-trained professionals, 24 hours a day. call now to get the $99 installation, plus a second keypad installed free. and, you could save up to 20% on your homeowner's insurance. call now-- and get the system installed for just $99. broadview security for your home or business - the next generation of brink's home security. call now. you're in "the situation room." happening now, taiwanese officials say the death toll from the flooding and the mudslides could top 500. john voss traveled to the village of the devastation. michael vick's second chance. the disgraced former nfl star
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signs a contract with the philadelphia eagles and acknowledges that his dogfighting activities were, quote, unethical and inhumane. is it enough for animal rights activists? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." two senators are battling out on twitter over the so-called health care death panels. we're talking about democratic senator arlen specter, republican senator chuck grassley. they're in a public fight in front of thousands of followers. let's go to our internet reporter abbi tatton. >> reporter: this has been going on all afternoon. two u.s. senators going at it right here on twitter. first up, senator arlen specter, who wrote a couple hours ago, called senator grassley to tell him to stop spreading myths about health care reform and imaginary death panels. well, it seems like senator grassley saw that. within the hour, he tweeted, "specter got it all wrong that i have ever used words death
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boards. even liberal press never accused me of that. so, change your last tweet, arlen." the background is comments that senator grassley made at an iowa town hall this week. he didn't use the word death boards, but he said this, which made news -- we should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma. seems that senator specter still wants to talk about that. he just wrote on twitter that he was not able to get through on the phone to senator grassley but i will talk to him as soon as possible to clarify. wolf? >> abbi, thanks very much. let's clarify a little more with our cnn political contributor and democratic strategist paul begala along with conservative commentator terry jeffrey, editor in chief of the cybercast news service. what do you think about this little battle on twitter going on over the death panels between grassley and specter? both very information mall. >> one called specter grandpa
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twitter. i'm pro technology but it's inherently limiting. 140 characters. specter has the better of the argument. senator grassley didn't use the phrase death panel but maybe speck the ter couldn't fit that in 140 characters. abbi quoted him accurately. what's worse, grassley voted in 2003 to be specific, november 25th, 2003, at 9:23 a.m. for almost the exact same provision. it was in the bush prescription drug plan. and so, senator grassley has been for advanced medical directives, helping people prepare a living will. >> which what's wrong with it? >> i agree with paul on this part, twitter is idiotic. you can't have an intelligent discussion on twitter. everything in this health care plan is about increasing government control over health care. and the way they're going to do that is through money. people at 400% of the poverty are going to be financed by the government, subsidized by the government for health care. everybody knows the adage who
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pays the piper calls the tune. if the government is paying for part of health care, they'll run your health care. if they do that, they'll save money by rationing, especially including people at the end of life. >> this is the house version, more than 1,000 pages. i've been reading this thing and it's not easy reading for anybody who tries to get through this. why do we need legislation so complex and so difficult to understand? if you try reading this thing, most of these pages are gobbledygook. >> it's a complex issue, though. try reading your private unshuru unshurns policy. who's in charge there are corporate bureaucrats who are going to make profit by turning down people for care. today the president in montana, i was so impressed by this, he told the story of a woman who had paid all her premiums, got aggressive breast cancer and was cut off from her health care because they said she'd been to a dermatologist for acne. a pre-existing condition. this is what corporate insurance companies are doing today.
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using fine print in their contracts to do that. >> terry, as tough as the government bureaucrats can be, the private health insurance bure krots can be tough on folk who is get sick, as well. >> it's still the private sector. cnn has done an excellent thing. you can look at that bill on the website, which i did today. i suggest people look at the provision that says national networks of community-based organizations -- who are they? national networks of community-based organizations are going to get money to monitor people's health behavior on a community level, including their weight, whether they're smoking, what's being said to kids at the school. what's going on here? this is a level of government control of people's lives that is fundamentally un-american. >> the corporate control of people's lives is what we have. >> government controlling people's lives is un-american, period. >> the government won't control anybody's life. >> they will with health care. >> there was sworn testimony before the house of representatives where insurance company bureaucrats had to admit they canceled insurance policies
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of 20,000 premium payers and they -- >> that 1,000 pages is not about the government controlling your health care? >> hold on. hold on. >> they gave bonuses to people who kicked americans off health care. >> i know you'll disagree on this because i want to move on because we don't have a lot of time. newt gingrich, former house speaker, givinging advice to sarah palin, what to do in the coming months, weeks, years -- write a book, become a regular commentator on tv, create a national project or center, work really, really hard. good advice for sarah palin from newt gingrich? give us the back story. >> the idea of residents in washington, d.c., and new york is not credible. she should remember the first residence ronald reagan had in washington, d.c., was 1600 pennsylvania avenue. >> no condo in d.c. or new york. >> absolutely right.
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newt is a brilliant political strategist. speaker gingrich. i don't mean to be disrespectful. frankly she would do well to listen to him. i would change d.c. and new york to iowa. but he's trying to treat her like she's a serious person. she's not. she's about a half a whack job and does not have the intellectual heft of a newt gingrich or almost anybody else in the republican party and i think she's proven that. i admire newt gingrich for pretending she's a serious but she's proven herself to be an intellectual whack. >> she has rock-solid principles and is ready to fight for those principles. >> not her job. >> i do believe she has to get out and debate national issues like this health care bill now and prove she's able to get nose to nose -- i think it's not proven. she ought to get more in the face of president obama, less on this issue. this is an excellent issue for her. she should keep fighting. >> thanks, guys. have a great weekend.
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what were air-traffic controllers doing when that light plane collided with the helicopter in new york? why have two been suspended? a black candidate facing racial hatred and admitting he's scared. so guess what. again, when i least expected it, s, wasldn' sit bomgreame bt. n hhipeneme, mo again, when i least expected it, rt s to help control my asthma. a, dom it pacti tca lamme ion bad coertricard wer so i'm breathing more freely day and night, and that feels good to me. lamme ion bad coertricard wer
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two air-traffic controllers have been suspended after that midair crash of a small plane and a helicopter that killed nine people near new york last weekend. let's go to our national correspondent, susan candiotti. she's in new york with more. susan, why were they suspended? >> reporter: wolf, they were suspended because the air-traffic controller handling the plane allegedly was making a personal call when he shouldn't have been and the supervisor wasn't in the building as required. however, more than that, some startling other details from the ntsb's investigation just released this afternoon. the ntsb says that 54 seconds before the collision several aircraft, including the sightseeing helicopter, were detected by radar in front of the small plane, but the teterboro controller who was on that personal call did not advise the pilot of those potential traffic issues. now, newark's controller stepped in and asked teterboro to get in touch with the pilot, and the
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controller tried, but the ntsb said the pilot didn't respond. the agency's timetable says that 20 seconds before the crash audio conflict alarms did sound on radar at both towers, but controllers told investigators they didn't recall hearing them. the ntsb is trying to sort all this out and says it's premature to speculate about it. as investigators study this amateur video to find out what led to the terrifying midair crash over the hudson, in italy, a family mourns. among the five italian tourists killed aboard the sightseeing helicopter was a father and son, michele and filippo norelli. they share a bar with the ultmans outside philadelphia. steven, his brother daniel and his teenaged son douglas were killed in the small plane that collided with the helicopter. both families are searching for answers among new disturbing allegations opinion an air-traffic controller who was handling the piper airplane was
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on the phone with his girlfriend at the time of the crash. according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. what the faa in a statement calls, quote, inappropriate conversations. and there's more. the faa says the air-traffic controller's supervisor was not in the building at the time as required. our source says the air-traffic controller had already cleared the plane for takeoff from teterboro airport in new jersey before talking with his girlfriend. the ntsb says the plane had been handed off electronically to the next tower down the line in newark, and then the plane disappeared from radar. the faa calls the conduct of the controller and his boss unacceptable but says, quote, we have no reason to believe at this time that these actions contributed to the accident. >> we have somebody missing in action. we have someone else who's not doing their job. so, the negligence is there. the only question is whether that negligence had a role in this zen. >> the faa says the two
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employees are now on administrative leave. the investigation's not over. ultimately, the two could be fired. while the faa says all this had no direct role in the collision, the ntsb says it is far too early to draw any conclusions. >> susan candiotti reporting for us. thanks very much for that report. before the last election, many questioned whether america was ready for a black president. we now know the answer to that. but germany finds itself doing some similar soul searching right now and the answer there is far from clear. facing some serious right-wing hatred. fred pleitgen. >> reporter: wolf, politicians here are calling this an embarrassment for germany. of course, especially considering this country's past. a far-right party here is trying to drive a black politician not only out of politics but out of the country. don't let these smiles fool you.
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he's a man under threat. the victim of abuse from the far right. because he's black and campaigning in an upcoming election in germany. "i'm scared. i'm under police protection. they're on patrol day and night at my house and some even stay there overnight." he's a german citizen who came here more than 20 years ago from angola. he's a member of the center right christian democrats, the cdu, the party led by german chancellor angela merkel. "i'm not just a member. i'm also a volunteer firefighter at the local department." but now the ultraright wing national democratic party wants him out of germany. on their website, they call him the cdu's quota negro. even after years of education, negroes cannot be accepted as permanent guests in our state. the npd denies accusations it
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has ties to nazi groups and when asked by cnn, a representative tried to play down the campaign. "we don't mind having foreigners in germany. we just don't want them to have political influence." he says he's filed a lawsuit against the extremists who have shown up at his house. the cdu says he has their full support. politicians call the hate campaign unprecedented in postwar germany, and in his hometown, people say they're shocked. "it's a disaster. he's such a nice man and has been living here for so many years." "i was totally shocked. i just cannot believe that people would do this to fellow humans." schall is the local expert for integration of minorities but this may be his final public appearance. party officials tell us after several death tret threats against him it has simply become too dangerous for schall to play a part in germany's democratic process.
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wolf, what we have to know about these neonazi groups here in germany is they have a broader base in what used to be the communist east. but a campaign like this one is certainly something that not many germans have seen before. wolf? >> a shocking story indeed, fred. thanks very much for that report. a new hampshire woman who was once pulled over by police claims that when she stepped out of her car to talk to the sheriff he tasered her twice. we have the details for you. this is a shocking report. and i sit down with the 11-year-old reporter who interviewed president obama.
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a sixth-grader has scooped a lot of veteran journalists by getting an interview with president obama. after that, 11-year-old damon weaver sat down with me. here's some of our conversation and his session with the president. i've got another clip from the interview which i'm going to play for all of our viewers right now. watch this. >> what can make our country
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better? >> i think the thing that kids can do best is just to work really hard in school and succeed. you know, it's young people like yourself if they're reading at the high levels and doing their math and doing their homework and science and ending up going to college and being successful, that makes everybody better off. and so, the most important thing young people can do i think is to do well in school. but also when they've got some spare time, try to help out other people, maybe through your church or through, you know, your religious community or out in the neighborhood, helping an elderly person carry their grocery bags in or, you know, being -- you know, helping out a younger person on their schoolwork. those kinds of things, that kind of service, that's also really helpful to the country. >> everybody knows that you love basketball. i think it would be cool to have a president that can dunk. can you dunk? >> not anymore. i used to when i was young, but
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i'm almost 50 now, so, you know, your legs are the first thing to go. >> my buddy promised me if you gave me the interview he would play in a one-on-one basketball game. but he's buddy, dwayne would pl in a one on one basketball game. would you be willing to play dwyane wade? >> he was here. i am sorry to hear he was trash talking. he is a little bit better than i am. i might rather have him on my team playing against somebody else than playing against him. >> what is it like being the president of the united states? >> well, it is very exciting. it is a lot of work. there are times where you get a little worn down. every day, you have the possibility, the ability of helping other people. if you can do that, then that's a great, great thing.
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>> what are you going to do to keep me safe? >> i think we have to make sure that all schools have the resources to keep kids safe but it's also important that parents and community members participate in training their young people to resolve arguments and disagreements without resort to violence. too many of our young people, when they get frustrated or angry at each other, they start acting out in violence and we need to make sure we are teaching young people to deal with the issues they may have in a better and more constructive way. >> i know that you are busy being the president but i would like to invite you to my school, because there are a lot of good things going on there that i would like you to see. >> i hope that at some point i get a chance to come visit your school because you did a great
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job on this interview, so somebody must be doing something right down at that school. >> when i interviewed vice president joe biden, he became my home boy. now that i interviewed you, would you like to become my home boy. >> absolutely. >> thanks, great job. >> thanks for making my dream come true. >> you did an outstanding job. i look forward to seeing you in the future. >> i think he really liked the president. >> he is your home boy? >> yep. >> do you think he will come to your school someday and show up. >> someday. >> you liked him a lot, didn't you? >> yeah. >> what did you think of all those questions. they were very good questions. who helped you? >> my teacher, mr. zimmerman. >> you thought of some of those questions, yourself, right? >> a little. >> together. you came up with the question about the school lunches and the bullying and all that stuff is really important, right? >> uh-huh. >> do you want to be a journalist when you grow up? >> a journalist and an
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astronaut. >> and an astronaut? >> and more. >> if you want to be a journalist, you have got to practice. that's what you are doing right now, right? you have to can pra it is being a journalist. >> i am going to let you practice with me rooi right now. >> why do they call you wolf? >> that's my name, my real name. i didn't make it up. >> is that because you have a lot of hair on your face? >> no, but maybe that's a good example but that's not why they call me wolf. that is my real name. i didn't make it up. go ahead. ask me another question. >> how did you get the name wolf? >> my grandfather's name on my mother's side. i was named after him. >> do you like working for cnn? >> i love working for cnn. >> will you give me an internship? >> yes when you finish your sophomore name in high school. >> why is your last name
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blitzer? >> that was my dad's last nim. >> you must play with the linebackers? >> when i was in high school, i did play linebacker. i was one of the original blitzers. i did play linebackers. now, they call you dynamite "d." why? >> because i'm a dynamite. i just explode. >> in what sport? >> football. >> what position? >> tight end and defensive end. >> wow, that's pretty good. dynamite "d." we're going to tall you dynamite "d." damon, go back to sixth grade, do a lot of your homework. practice being a journalist. maybe you will be a journalist, an astronaut, a doctor. the whole world is out there for you. thanks for coming into "the situation room"? >> it was cool but not as cool as the white house? the white house is cooler?
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>> yes. >> you are a good man. >> thank you. >> you are welcome. >> what a sweet guy. so smart. i hate to think what i was doing when i was 11 years old going into sixth grade. damon, dynamite "d." michael vick says he is on a mission not just to revive his football career but to crusade for animal rights. we are going to tell you how animal rights groups are responding. a first-hand look at the devastation in taiwan. john vos travels with the rescuers. good choice. only meineke lets you choose the brake service that's right for you. and save 50% on pads and shoes. meineke.
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whether it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has president obama kept his promise of transparency? >> once again, campaign rhetoric, same old b.s. i am not surprised the results differ from the promises of this crew. peggy writes, hey, jack, are you taking a page from the fox news channel. this president has shown more transparency in his first six months in office than his predecessor did in his entire term. cut him some slack for crying out loud e is actually out there working. pick on someone else. martin in pittsburgh, i voted for obama. i still have faith in his
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success but i'm disappointed that there has been a lack of transparency when he promised he was going o change washington and make transparency one of his main goals. it made me and other voters feel like we would have more control over our government. now, i feel like it is all the same. jim writes, perception is everything. if i was to give a trillion dollars away, how long would it take for me to figure out how the money was being spent? yes, president obama is doing what he promised. maybe not at the speed we would like but progress that counts is seldom fast. alex in atlanta says, not a question of transparency. anyone with a computer can access the information he needs. the issues are the abject laziness of most people and the muddy, fuzzy filters through which special interest groups pass the facts. jillian writes, transparent? more like owe pinlg. i am highly disappointed because things are more obscure than ever. at least when bush was
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president, we knew he was skewing us over because it was so overt. if you didn't see your e-mail, check out the blog site. we post hundreds of them there. happening now, blunt questions for president obama about the cost and scope of health care reform. sceptics and supporters make their voices heard in montana. one questioner reveals to me whether he got an honest answer. plus, he did prison time for dogfighting. now, michael vick is getting a second chance in the nfl. animal rights activists are furious. at least some of them are. mary snow in philadelphia with reaction to vic's signing with the eagles. typhoon survivors trapped in mud and rushing water. danger and the death toll rising right now. a cnn exclusive this hour, john voss, takes us on a dramatic rescue mission in taiwan. i'm wolf blitzer in cnn's command center for breaking news, politics and extraordinary
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reports from around the world. you are in "the situation room." >> president obama did get a little more push back than he usually gets at these health care town hall meetings. it gave us a rare opportunity to talk to the montana man who asked one of the most pointed questions. stand by to hear what he thinks now. first, listen to what randy racey asked mr. obama. he proudly identifies himself as a member of the national rifle association. >> you can't tell us how you are going to pay for this. you are saving here. you are saving over there. you are going to take a little money here, a little money there but you have no money. the only way you are going to get that money is to raise our taxes. you said you wouldn't. max baucus says he doesn't want to put out a bill that will. that's the only way you can do that. >> okay, now, listen to some of the president's answer to that
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question and watch carefully at the reaction from another man in the audience. >> when i was campaigning, i made a promise that i would not raise your taxes if you made $250,000 a year or less. that's what i said. but i said that for people like myself, who make more than that, there is nothing wrong with me paying a little bit more in order to help people who have got a little bit less. that's my commitment. >> obviously, got one guy in the audience that was not satisfied. just a short whiling a, i spoke with randy racy, the man who asked the original question. i asked him about his exchange with the president. i want to get randy racy's reaction. the president, randy, said he promises he is going to live by his commitment made during the campaign that he won't raise taxes for anyone making under $250,000 a year, would raise taxes for those making more. did his answer to you today
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satisfy you? >> somewhat. we're going to find out about the president, because he has made some promises and now he has given me his word personally that he is not going to raise my taxes. i'm a big man on living up to your word. so i'm going to take him for that. >> do you have any dout that he might back away from that commitment? >> i don't think he has any choice. if he is going to put health care in, he is going to leave it unfunded. i don't know what he is going to do. >> what did you think in general of how the president handled himself today in montana? >> i was well impressed. i came here for that reason, to have a little discourse. i was fortunate to get asked. the president handled himself very well and he tried to the best of his ability to answer my questions. >> rathie also tells me he drove several hundred miles to see the president and slept on the sidewalk to get in line for a ticket and waited once again today to get in the door. he was happy he did so. president obama may be convinced we will see health care reform
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passed this year. one of the more influential lawmakers in congress says, maybe not. think again. we are talking about democratic congressman, john murtha, of pennsylvania. he believes health care legislation will not necessarily happen this year. >> we would like to see this happen. the speaker is very enthusiastic about something happen. she said we were going to have it before we left and we said, no, no, we want some time to think about this. so we're taking some time to make sure it's done right. i don't know that we'll get something done before january and even then we may not get it done. we're going to do it right when it's finally done. let's move on to something we haven't seen a lot of these health care meetings. a member of congress getting cheered. conservative democrat, mike ross, proved that he knows how to play to an audience in arkansas. our congressional correspondent,
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briei brianna keilar is joining us. >> reporter: it is not that the issue of health care doesn't get the 700 arakansans hot under the collar. it does. they didn't take it out on their congressman. congressman mike ross' town hall meeting got off to a loud start but it wasn't a protest. it was a standing ovation. many of his constituents are pleased that he and other fiscally conservative democrats forced leaders to pair down their price tag and delay a vote until september. he scored points by distancing himself from leaders in washington. >> i led an effort and stood up to president obama and the speaker, pelosi, and we won, delaying any floor vote on health care reform to september at the earliest. >> like their congressman, these arakansans are concerned about
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the cost of reform. >> this bill is going to raise the deficit $65 billion. >> if health care reform adds a time to the national debt, i'm voting no. >> while ross' constituents asked pointed questions, they reserved most for each other. >> my family has lived here. >> shut up. >> i am -- >> reporter: as supporters of the democrat's health care reform, ross played referee more than once. >> y'all leave him alone. if he wants to yell and jump up and down, let him. this is america. >> a lot of people here today were happy with what they heard from congressman ross. there were a couple people who said they were glad he delayed a vote on the health care reform bill. what they really would like him to do or to have done is to kill the proposal. ross stood his ground on that, wolf. he said, it is not his intention to kill health care reform. he said, he twoonts do it but he just wants to do it in a common sense way. >> brianna is in arc ka dell fee
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ya, arkansas. to learn more, go to our health care in america website. lts all at stunning pictures of a dramatic rescue you will see only here in cnn. this is what it was like after a powerful typhoon. officials fear the death toll could climb above 500. still some are trapped a week after a disaster. here is john voss' exclusive report. >> reporter: high in the mountains, the village left isolated after a major bridge was brought down. the river below is still swollen. a few who tried to cross there were swept away and taken to safety by rescue crews. the only way in and out.
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more than 100 people. they say it is pretty safe. it is still a long way down. probably about a 200-foot drop straight down onto the rocks down there. this water is moving pretty quickly. all that is holding me right now is this one hook there which is connected to these three cleats. 32 people died here. a local official said bodies have been left rotting today. walking into the villages, the roads have collapsed. there has been no electricity or running water for a week. there is mud, lots of it. just getting across is not easy. >> it really is just like
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walking through quicksand. this village has been all but abandoned. but for one family, 300 people have made the journey to safety. i'm not sure i will go back says this young man. we will wait until the roads are clear and try and clean up. by day's end, getting out was not so easy. the safest way they said, was across the river, the same river where others had earlier been swept away. so many villages and houses cut off by mudslides and debris. it will be a long time for the people of shing chi will be able to go forward again. john voss, cnn. let's go to jack cafferty for the cafferty file. you saw what he was doing.
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he was a pretty courageous guy. >> it makes you not want to complain about the commute home in rush-hour in new york city. >> right. >> the town of elgin, illinois offering its citizens money if they will lose weight. they can't find any takers. after a statewide survey named elgin the fattest city, the city workers decided to do something. the ymca is offering $40,000 in grants. the winners that submit ideas would get $1,000 each. the hope was residents would come up with solutions, buying gym memberships, creating healthy cooking classes. nobody has signed up for this any of this money. elgin's mayor says the lack of interest shows the city has a long way to go. people come up with nontraditional exercise programs, an alternative to teen
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sports. officials hope some of this grant money can also help pay to teach parents about healthy eating for themselves and their kids. almost half of the kids in elgin school district are obese or at risk for being obese. deadline for the program, september the 1st, if you are listening in elgin, you have a couple of weeks to get off the coach and sign up and do something. here is the question. if offering money to help fat people lose weight, what will? go to and post a comment. >> got to lose some weight, all of us do, jack. it is very important. if it happened to her, if it happened to you, a mother driflg with her children stopped by a police officer and stunned by a taser gun. did she even pose a threat? u.s. marines are trying to break the backs of some determined militant fighters. we have received brand new video of a fierce fight underway in
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afghanistan. outrage that a football team has picked up michael vick. some people aren't buying his apologies. like this one. >> in the past, i made some mistakes. i've done some terrible things, made a horrible mistake and now i want to be part of the solution and not the problem. and it's the longest lasting tums ever. tums dual action works two ways to relieve heartburn: like all tums, it goes to work in seconds. plus, tums dual action has an effective acid reducer that works for hours, all day or all night, to keep heartburn from coming back. rely on tums dual action for fast, long-lasting relief of heartburn. brand power. helping you buy better. you could buy 300 bottles of water. or just one brita filter. ( drop plinks ) brita-- better for the environment and your wallet.
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michael vick says he is getting more than a second chance at football. he says his new job with the philadelphia eagles will give him a chance to crusade for
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animal rights. v vick spoke out about his return to the nfl and his conviction for running a dogfighting ring. the quarterback says his 18 months in prison changed him. >> we all the excuse it was part of our culture. you know, i don't think that's an excuse. i was kind of obeying that rule at the time. as i grew older and as things start to transpire, when i went to prison, i had plenty of time to think about what i did. i've seen people's reactions. you know, up until that point, i never really cared. i won't say i didn't care. i never thought about it. now, i understand people care about their animals. they care about the health, welfare and protection of animals. now, i do. that's why i say, if i can help more than i hurt, then i'm
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contributing. i'm doing what i need to do. >> the owner of the philadelpea he struggled with the decision to hire vic. he said he thinks dogfighting is des pickable. >> i don't have the words. in the past two years, i have had two dogs that passed away. i think about them every day. the nature of a human and a dog. that's the way it should be. this represented to me the polar opposite. this represented the polar opposite and the worst possible behavior for a group of human beings and dogs. my family, we now have two dogs, one of which we rescued from abuse. when you are asked to approve
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something that you completely find despicable and an@they ma, it takes a lot of soul searching. the question became somewhat for me, could this man i don't know, become an agent for change. so i needed to dissect remorse. i wanted to understand if he had enough self-hatred. i needed to see a lot of self-hatred in order to approve this. >> that was on the front page of the philadelphia daily news with the picture of michael vick and the line "hide your dog." some say he is getting a second chance but the dogs he abused did not get a second chance. new this hour, mary snow has talking to people in philadelphia. what are they saying? >> reporter: well, you know, wolf, wherever you go in philadelphia, this is topic number one. this news hit like a bombshell. here, outside the eagles
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headquarters where vic had his news conference earlier today, some people turned out to say they are disgusted. shame on vic read one sign as animal rights protestors protested. they were unmoved by michael vick's promises that his troubles are behind him and that heel help more dogs than he hurt. katherine bordeaux confronted one man who came out to support him. she says she felt like she had to speak out on behalf of defenseless dogs. they are innocent. to take that and mutilate it and pervert it into something as a weapon, he is a killer. it's despicable. its the vilest thing i can imagine. >> reporter: one turned out to make a different point. >> i understand why they are upset. it was totally wrong. you've got to move on. >> try to tell that to people
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who rescue fighting dogs every day. clementine was rescued a few months ago and is now at a pennsylvania society for the cruelty for animals. she says they rescue 40,000 dogs, 80% of them pit bulls. >> i know what type of people are involved in this heinous sport, so it would be nice to see if anybody can be rehabilitated from that. >> reporter: the humane society of the united states is embracing vick sending him out to try and stop dogfighting. saying tens of thousands of people are involved. >> if michael vick can help reach some of these young men and help get them off that cruel path and get them going down a more productive path in life, that's a good thing that will save animals in the future. >> reporter: the humane society says that vick has made two
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appearances so far, one in chicago, one in atlanta, to talk to kids about dogfighting. no word on when heel make a similar appearance here in philadelphia. the only appearance we know about so far, vick is scheduled to be here tomorrow for his first training as a philadelphia eagle. >> thanks very much. abbi tatton is taking a closer look at how all this is affecting ticket sales for the philadelphia eagles. what are you finding out? >> wolf, in some cases, there are season ticket holders who are disgruntled. take a look at this posting. the last thing my son and i want to see is michael vick in an eagles jersey. we have made up our mind to sell the tickets. $3,000 cash gets the tickets. that's not the whole story. ever since that appeared on craigslist, you have seen many more. yes, v yes, vick an eagle.
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i want tickets. there are people reacting to this news that tickets are being uplowe uploaded. they are using michael vick to sell the tickets they have. these two tickets are available for the atlanta falcons. this is the eagles in december. as you can imagine, multiple bids on that one. wolf? >> thanks very much for that. a new picture is coming into "the situation room" right now from the battlefield in afghanistan just days before critical elections is there. are taliban fighters getting the upper hand? a ship that vanished is found. the mystery isn't solved. llll
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a new development involving michael phelps and the car accident in baltimore. >> reporter: there are new developments. olympic swimming champion, michael phelps, is facing charges stemming from a car accident he was involved in in baltimore. when police arrived, he presented an invalid michigan driver's license. that's one charge. the other charge is failing to establish michigan residency. the accident wasn't his fault. the other driver was cited for running a red light. no one was seriously hurt. new video is coming in from southern afghanistan. we want to tell you american forces are locked in a battle to secure a key town ahead of next week's election. the former taliban strong hold is located in the heart of a
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maj major opium-producing region. the marine base came under attack setting off a fire fight that lasted into the night. the hunt for a russian crude cargo ship that vanished in the atlantic, it seems to be over. the mystery surrounding the ship and the fate of its crew remains. russia's state news agency is reported that the ship that was hijacked is now being tracked across the west coast of africa. a top russian official is refusing to confirm that report. wolf, that interview you did with the little boy was just amazing. he said, i just explode. >> i was thinking of you when i was interviewing him. when you were 11 years old in louisiana, you were probably doing little interviews with the president of the united states yourself? >> not with the president but i did have my own little camera going around doing interview was
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my family and friends and anyone that would do an interview with him. >> thanks very much for that. a mom who was driving with her kids in the car was stopped by police and tasered in front of the children. was she a threat? we're taking a closer look at the video from the clis cpolice camera. cnn's rick san sanchez has experienced the taser firsthand. >> it hurts.
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imagine you are driving with the kids in the car and get pulled over for a routine traffic stop and wind up getting tasered by the police. it happened to a mom in new york state. we can take a closer look at the video to try to piece together what happened. brian todd is here in "the situation room." you studied the video. >> we are told by a civil court official that the woman involved in this incident, awudra harmon filed a lawsuit. it happened on january 31st of this year. she was pulled over. she claims the officer, deputy sean andrews said she was speeding and using her cell phone, which she denies. the video we are about to show you was posted on the website of the newspaper, "the syracuse post standard."
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taking it in sequence. harmon says she was asked by andrews to give him her license and registration. she says, he is headed back to his car, she gets out of her car under the impression, she says, that he is going to show her the dash cam tape. she says, andrews asked her to get back in her. she then asked again for her to show him the dash camera tape. she says, he asked her again to get back in her car and then pulls out his taser and says she is under arrest. she says, she asked him not to do this in front of her kids who are in the car. she gets back into her car. you see it there. she says, at that point, he wants her back out. she told him, she was not speeding or using the cell phone. then, she says, andrews yanks her out of the car. you are going to see it coming up here. there he goes. he yanks her out. at that point, she says, he is going to yank her out. at that point, she says, he tasers her. she is trying to get back in her
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car. he tase certificates her right there. she says, that's the first time he tase certificates her. it bounces off the jacket. then, she try toss get back in her car and at that point, she gets back out and tasers her a second time. you see him pulling her down and putting her near the center line of the highway there. the sequence is farrell clear on what appears to be happening here. >> she is on the dash cam tape that the newspaper puts out. she narrates what she says was going on. this is after she goes down to the ground, her describing how it felt at that point. >> it felt like it was an electrical shock going through you. i had no control over anything. he is still trying to get me down to the ground. but i was still being lec tri
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fied. >> the deputy wouldn't comment because of the pending lawsuit. he has been taken off road patrol. the sheriff's office said an internal investigation of the incident involving deputy andrews is and has been under review. the driver, miss harmon, was never charged. our efforts to reach miss harman and her teeattorney were not successful. >> very dramatic stuff. what's it really like to have so much electricity running through your body. joining us now our colleague and friend, rick sanchez, a cnn anchor. rick, unlike the rest of us, you have actually been tasered. you are a lot more courageous than i am in going lithrough th. i am going to show our viewers the video. i want to remind them what you went through. watch this.
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>> do it. >> it hurts. >> tell us what it was like? >> 50,000 volts of electricity. this is very, very painful. the findings are very important. the findings essentially say, i think most people remember, us here in atlanta remember when brian nichols was going to break out of a jail and go out and go on a killing spree. i asked myself that day, why in the world would guards be walking around jails with guns on open holsters. that just doesn't seem right. that seems silly. so i went down to the training academy where they train guards in south florida. i asked the supervisors, isn't there a better way of doing this? they said, yes, there are several better ways, including the fact that people in prisons and jails shouldn't have guns. why have something that can kill people. use tasers instead.
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if a prisoner takes your taser, he is not going to kill anybody. no one who graduates from that academy graduates without being tasered so they know what it feels like and what it does before they use it on another human being. >> you think back on the actual feeling that you had when you were tasered. tell us briefly what it was like? >> it is completely consuming to the fact where there is absolutely nothing left in your body. once the 50,000 volts of electricity shoots through your body, you literally become jelly? you are numb. your legs don't work. watch what happens to my legs. you will see that they buckle. if those two guys with the big muscles, as they say, aren't holding me up. i'm falling straight to the ground. the reason police officers use tasers, is to get something
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called compliance. by the way, ya, ya, ya, is spanish for stop, stop, stop. it's funny how you revert back to your original language. >> as long as there were no lasting side effects or anything? you went through a good experiment. >> it is important. tasers probably are the way of the future. i don't think any police officer would tell you we should completely eliminate guns. tasers have proven to be a very effective tool in law enforcement, especially when it comes to getting compliance. specifically how they are used, i think police departments have a long way to go to determine, what's the rule. when do you use it? the basic understand as i see it and i have read and my brother who is a police officer and everyone else i know to, you go to someone. you want them to do something. you are looking for compliance. you threaten that you are going to tase them. if they don't comply and you
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feel threatened, then you use it. there is a lot of gray area. eventually i think it will be the kind of tool that will make law enforcement a lot better and a lot of people a lot safer as well as opposed to using guns. >> i think you are right. >> he tried for health care reform and failed. now, he has some advice. >> i want us to be mindful that sometimes we may have to take less than a full loaf. >> who should concede? what should be given up? we are taking a closer look at our political time out. plus, a young journalist turns the tables on me. >> go ahead and interview me. >> why do they call you wolf?
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former president, bill clinton's, advice on health reform, compromise. first, let's go to our national political correspondent, jessica yellin, for some background on the former president. >> if anybody knows the kind of pressure president obama is under right now, it is this man,
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bill clinton. when he set out to reform health care, critics accused him of planning a government takeover of the system. last night, clinton was speaking to some of president obama's liberal base. he had some advice. compromise. >> i want us to be mindful that sometimes we may have to take less than a full load. >> we can't be in the peanut gallery. we can't ask the president to do it alone. we can't ask the congress to do it alone. >> now, our own paul bagala argued the same thing in an op ed. notice the lovely picture. i am sure he will appreciate that. he said democrats should focus on passing reform and be flexible about the specific. there is a fine line between compromising and caving. they said the senate will drop a provision that will allow for end of life counseling. critics, like sarah palin, made
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some outrageous claims that that is a back door to death panels. what should democrats be prepared to compromise? is it good politics or bad policy if they bend to pressure from the protestors. >> what do you think? should he cave or compromise on some of these popular items with the liberal base of the democratic party but not all that popular with others? >> let's face reality. they are going to compromise sooner or later. you don't want to compromise too much too soon. it is disappointing that grassley was so quick to want to toss that -- it was not a death position, but that end of life provision overboard. that's been part of federal law, either for hospitals or medicare, since the early '90s. but there is a tendency here to want to focus too much on the side controversies. grassley wants to move it out of the way. what you are going to see is one thing they cannot compromise on is a public option of some sort.
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>> there is a lot of disagreement. there are a lot of folks saying that's precisely the issue they have to compromise on, give up on the so-called public option, the government-run insurance companies to compete with the private insurance companies and go for something like cooperatives, something less than that. >> republicans and conservatives see the nose of the camel inserting itself into the tent preparing for the total crowding out of private insurers. obama people have began to decide about health insurance reform. >> what does that mean? >> they have eight principles they have laid out and they want to see changes in the way health companies are regulated. you read some of these principles and think, why didn't we do this stuff in the bush administration? this seems very reasonable. if you are to focus on those things, the reform of the existing system of insurance, that is something you would get
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70/30 support in the senate. the public option kills it, not just because of the option but because of what conservative thinks it is warning of. >> what are you hearing? are they ready when the dust settles? >> you can already hear them moving in that direction. the president is talking about these health care cooperatives, a mix of private and people would pay in to get this insurance. one of the mottos of the obama campaign, other than hope and change, was don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. that's how we see him, dialing down on the deadline and the public option. >> that was a message that former president clinton and paul bagala gave the white house. we have much more to talk about including al sharpton and news gingrich. a young journalist making his rounds here in washington, first interviewing president
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obama and then me. >> do you like working for cnn? >> i love working for cnn. >> will you give me an internship? >>
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jessica, some strange political bed fellows out there. >> what do al sharpton, arnie duncan and newt gingrich have in common? >> they are hitting the road together to promote education reform. it seems like a real bipartisan alliance that could be promising. we have seen this before only to see the pack fall apart over policy details. kind of like health care reform. now, the president has taken a lot of heat for failing to get to his ideal of a post partisan washington, which he talked a lot about during the campaign. maybe he thinks education reform will be different. he just told a wonderkid, 11-year-old student reporter he is coming up to creative solutions for the troubles with our schools. >> there are certain programs like drop-out prevention programs that local school districts might not be able to afford but maybe we can make sure that the federal government is giving help to those local
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districts so that they can improve their educational system. >> it all sounds good. so far, the president has not been able to get republicans to sing with him on his major priorities. so here is the question. can president obama achieve that bipartisan dream on education reform? >> good question. david fromm, can he? >> education reform is an area that is right. the most conservative republicans agree with the most liberal part of the democrats, that is on vouchers and charter schools. you run into trouble not on the ends of the spectrum but in the middle. a lot of homeowners see quality schools as residents of those in a certain property area. >> is this for real? >> it's for real. they think that these, news gingrich on the one hand and al sharpton, obviously, represent
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different constituencies, they think if they go out on this four-city tour. president obama actually has a lot in common with what president bush is saying. he has $100 billion to push from the stimulus plan. >> why can newt beggingrich be saying so much nice things about arnie duncan but not so much who are manny on health care reform? >> arnie duncan was superintendent for the chicago schools for about eight years, remarkably successful. he borrowed ideas from the right and left. one element we haven't mentioned is teachers' unions. that gets in the way of vouchers when it comes to the middle
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group you were talking about. there is both that and teacher account ability. these issues, duncan has been able to work well in bringing the different parties together. newt and al lot of that, and this is an important month, wolf, because right before -- a month before september, that's where you want to get patients and kids interested in going back to school so you can raise that rate of low-income kids. >> should teacher's unions have heartburn seeing this threesome going out together? >> i think they feel very smug and very powerful. i think it's going to take a much bigger and more determined and more -- less time bound alliance to bring any discipline to those unions. >> we'll leave it on that note. thank you very much. let's check in with lou. what are you working on? >> tonight, we'll have complete coverage of president obama's new offensive, trying still to sell his health care agenda.
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opposition to his plan continues to mount. approval ratings continue to decline. president obama today blamed television news organizations for inflaming the controversy over his health care proposals and one of the president's strongest critics in the democratic party, congressman mike roth. today he explained to constituents why he disagreed with the president. three top political analysts will be here to tell us whether the president has lost this battle to put through a health care initiative. and chaos in california. from fires to prison riots to a wild animal invasion, did we mention california's massive budget problems? we'll have a special report. all of that, all of the day's news and much more, straight ahead here on cnn at the top of the hour. please join us. wolf, back to up. >> see you then, lou. let's check in with jack. >> the question is if offering money to helping fat people lose weight, what will? they have $48,000 in grant
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available to organizations in elgin, illinois, where the population for the most part is overweight. nobody wants the money. angel writes -- jim in hot springs village, arkansas -- derek writes --
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j.d. in north carolina -- arlene in illinois -- and a. writes -- if you didn't see your e-mail here, go to my blog. look for yours there among hundreds of others. i'll look for you, manana, mr. blitzer. >> thanks, jack. have a great weekend. first he interviewed the president of the united states. then he sat down with me. why do they call you dynamite d? >> because. i'm a dynamite. i just explode.
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>> 11-year-old damon weaver, we asked each other some tough questions. stand by, you're going to want to see this. plus, in russia the prime minister and president played badminton. just one of our hot shots. it's personal. i have diabetes. rodney's kid too. so we're so proud to manufacture... the accu-chek® aviva meters and test strips... here in the u.s.a. plus, we've proven you'll waste 50% fewer strips... when you use our meter, which means greater savings... for people with diabetes, like me. now that's a true american value. accu-chek® aviva. born in the u.s.a.
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here is a look at some hot shots. in montana, a man posted some signs opposing single payer health care.
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and in pakistan, the navy marches for pakistan's independence day. in russia the prime minister and president play badminton. hot shots, pictures worth 1,000 words. a sixth grader from florida has scooped veteran journalists by getting an interview with president obama. 11-year-old damon weaver sat down with me. >> why do they call you wolf? >> that's my name. that's my real name. i didn't make it up. >> is that because you have a lot of hair on your face? >> no, but maybe that's a good example. but that's a good question. i get asked that question a lot. that is my real name. go ahead, ask me another question. >> how did you get your name? >> it was my grandfather's name on my mother's side. his name is wolf. i was named after him. >> do you like working for cnn? >> i love working for cnn. >> will you give me an internship? >> i will.
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when you finish your sophomore year in college. you work really hard. >> why the last name blitzer? >> that's my last name. that's my dad's name. we didn't make that name up either. >> you must have been a linebacker. >> i was a linebacker, but that was before they had blitzing linebackers. that's very good. they call you dynamite d, don't they? why don't they call you dynamite d? >> because i'm a dynamite. i just explode. >> in what sport? >> football. >> football. >> what position? >> tight end and defensive end. >> wow. that's pretty employgood. we're going to call you dynamite d. you go to sixth grade, do a lot of your homework, and practice being a journalist. the whole world is out there for you. thank you for coming to "the situation room." >> you're welcome. >> it was

The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer
CNN August 14, 2009 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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